tv [untitled] November 8, 2010 12:30am-1:00am PST
here. just let me know what you need." that is something you hear pretty often. it is just words. but a few months later, i said "i need you to do something." i told her that we needed a state bill passed that would enable us to be able to leverage federal dollars so we could build this facility. she said she could do it and then she did, which i think is very much the story of her life -- a woman with a huge heart who says "i will do that for you," and then she really does. congresswoman jackie speaier. >> are you as thrilled as i am to be here today? is this not just a home run out of the park? i am reminded of what they
always say about society, that you really measure a society by how it takes care of its old, its young, and its disabled. if ever there was a symbol of how this great city takes care of its family, it is this building. i want to say thank-you to mitch katz, who at as the mayor has said is the best of the best. he is a remarkable leader for the city. under challenging times, he manages a health-care city -- a health care center with great grace. thank you again. to the great city family, to the board of supervisors, to my colleagues in the state legislature,, it is a thrill to be with you. to. cutler, who is here representing the wonderful residence. we are thrilled you have this
beautiful home in which to live. this is really full circle. laguna honda was first challenged because it was seismically unsafe. it was the unchallenged because it had 30 person wards, and that was unacceptable. and so the work again. we said "yes we can," and now we say yes we did. we transform laguna honda into a remarkable long-term care facility for the residents of this great city. i was really privileged to be able to carry legislation. it was not easy, but we did come up with 200 million more dollars to put into this facility. your heart will skip a beat just like mine did when i walked into that building and saw the extraordinary are work that will live on in this building
forever and that will be a reflection of our great love of the arts. i just want to say that i came here often as a youngster. my grandfather was here for two years. he had a stroke and became disabled and paralyzed. he came to this country in 1950 and became a u.s. citizen and worked at mountainside hospital in their janitorial services. so he spent two years here. i used to come here on the weekend. it was dreary and dingy. oftentimes a did not want to come because it was not very pleasant. but i was deeply grateful for the extraordinary care he received here. to all the care givers, we cannot thank you enough for continuing to serve in that facility that was not the most beautiful. but now we turn over to the facility that truly is beautiful.
we want to thank you again. [applause] we want to thank you again for hanging in there with us. this is a jewel for the city. we can be very proud of it. we can be very proud of the leadership of the city. we can be very proud of the residents who live here and will have great dignity as they continue to enjoy all that is laguna honda. it is a privilege to be with you. i bring greetings from my colleagues, your congresswoman, the speaker of the house of representatives, nancy pelosi, who desperately wanted to be here today, a work called for other places. thank you all for the privilege of serving you. maybe next time you call i will take your call again. [applause] >> thank you so much.
our next speaker exemplifies why it would be wonderful if we could only have more health care people in elected office. but think part of why he is so effective on a number of health issues is because he is himself a child psychologist who really understands the needs of vulnerable populations and who has been a tremendous supporter of hours on laguna honda and a number of other issues. senator, we are so lucky to have you. thank you. >> thank you very much. i was asked to talk a little bit about my relationship with laguna honda. the year was 1978. i had just graduated, gotten my ph.d. in child psychology. i joined the public health department in the children's division. i was working. i never thought i would be
coming over to laguna honda, because it was mainly for adults and those individuals who were later in their years. but with a child you always have a family. so there were many times the would come here. what was always amazing about laguna honda was the sense of community. you kind of go back into the records and talk to some of those individuals who were involved in laguna honda. one of the things you would always hear was that their vocations -- the patients were the family. they may be there for a couple of years. they are our family. they are our children. they are our aunts and uncles. one of the things i also began to realize is that because it was a community that the staff here understood what back then we never even understood. but they were doing it already. later we would coined it as
culturally and linguistically sensitive and competent. those kinds of principles were developed here that we were only trying to think about somewhere else. laguna honda, for me, was the trailblazer of a lot of good quality care for many, many individuals. best forward -- i do not know what year it was. i was on the board of supervisors multiple times. willie brown was mayor. i was in the middle of it all. right behind me and around me, they came up with this notion of the largest bond ever in the history of the city and county of san francisco. i was trying to figure out how i was going to deal with the supervisors and the mayor and everybody else. but one of the things about san
francisco is that if there is a will there is always a way. if there is an interesting, there will always be a way to try and find avenues to help all of those individuals here in the city and county of san francisco. despite all of the differences, despite all the different interests, despite all of the political machinations you can imagine, which came together as a city and we passed that bond. in the history now is how do we move forward to provide the very, very best services for all those individuals here and those individuals who come? how do we honor the paths of those individuals who understood the importance of linguistic and cultural competence and all of those attitudes and values back there permeate into the halls and the rooms and all the
offices and the ground here of the new laguna honda? i will tell you that i am confident that there are going to be new things. there are going to be new ways of dealing with patients, a more humane and sensitive caring way. and it will come out of laguna honda. all of us should be proud. all of us should be grateful that we have had a small piece of that particular history. because that history helps me bear a lot of responsibility, to be a husband, to be a father. this institution will always be part of my life. you have taught me how to be that better person. thank you very much and god bless all of you. [applause] >> we are so blessed in our elected leaders in san francisco. senator mark leno has helped us
on a bill to make sure that people who need help in a community and want to stay in the community can do so. we are very proud of this new building. at the same time, we want to make sure that people who want to stay in their homes will be able to do so. and so the senator has carried a bill that will enable us, if someone has medicaid, to use those medicaid dollars to increase the number of in-home hours that person has so that we can use those federal dollars instead of hospitalization, instead of long-term care here, in the home. our goal is that the person always has the choice as to what is the best setting for them. with that, should we do it all together? >> i have a resolution. this is my district. senator leno is an interloper.
it is ok, because he is going to bring us a lot of money. together, we want to make this presentation to the executive director, the new head of laguna honda. i have known her for years. she is small in size, but she carries a wallop. thank you very much. [applause] >> good afternoon, everybody. it is not often you get to say the words "your tax dollars at work" with a smiling face, but san francisco is smiling today. [applause]
supervise a eslbernd call me months ago to find out when the ribbon cutting would be, knowing the pride celebration was coming. he wanted to make sure there was a cycle of other activities, planning the ribbon cutting. i want to thank you, a supervisor, for doing that. i am curious if we are going to cut a red or a pink ribbon this afternoon. major newsom -- mayor newsom has recognized all the individuals who helped bring us to this proud moment. i remember clearly when we were all on the board of supervisors together. we got news from the federal government that the open wards and conditions of laguna honda, no 144 years old, now to serve 780 residents -- that we had to act fast because we had to build
this building. willie brown, as mayor, a very experienced in political campaigns for going forward, because it is thinking $500 billion -- we have never approach the size of that general obligation bond before -- did the polling to show it was over 300 voters. with the help of lobbyists and other civic leaders we got this bond past. and it is great to celebrate with everyone today. [applause] i also remember that we brought all the stakeholders to the table, those representing the health-care workers, and our building trade friends. we needed to make sure everybody was on board. with the boat threshold as high
as it is, a very small percentage could stop this important project. but we did bring everyone together and we did prevail. i want to not overlook something that really is critical, because unfortunately the polar ice caps are melting faster than al gore suggested a few years ago. climate change is upon us. it is happening fast. those of us who live in coastal areas will fill the affect of that first. we want to recognize the mayor's leadership in not just the opportunity of building such an important structure -- this is the first leed certified hospital in the state of california, and what that means is the rebuilding of the entire campus is to provide respect, dignity, and validation for all
of the residents who will be here at laguna honda, but next importantly that we build something that will come from its conception, enhance the conservation of the water is an energy used in this building, and enhance the co2 emission reductions of this building. mayor, thank you for walking the walk as well as talking the talk. it is something to be proud of, leed-certified. to all the care givers and all the volunteers who make up the family of residents, to express our appreciation for your long hours and for your selfless service, and know that the battles that senator yee and assembly men andiano and i are
putting in sacramento right now -- if we let governor have his -- if we let the governor have his way to eliminate government support services and to eliminate government general fund support for health services, people who are now able to be in this community would no longer be able to. we would need over 10 laguna honda's. we are not going to let arnold schwarzenegger have his way so that people can have the option of dignity. thank you all for joining us today. [applause] >> san francisco has a great elected city family. i want to acknowledge the president of the board of supervisors, president david chu, supervisor maxwell,
subp-- superviser chiu, jose cisneros, the former mayor -- we are all proud to have you here. thank you. we have a special supervisor because he represents this district and has been looking out for laguna honda since he was elected. we are very grateful to him for that and for all he did to make today house -- to the possible. police help -- please help me recognize supervisor elsbernd. >> good afternoon, and welcome to beautiful and sunny san francisco. i would also like to single out
and think my friend and colleague and recent father, supervisors mirkarimi, who is over there with his son, for all he has done. there are a few more things that i would like to offer. we are going to hear from one of the two directors of the laguna hospital foundation, and i would like to single out the volunteers who are also here. thank you to the volunteers. [applause] for more than 50 years of service to laguna hospital, thank you to the volunteers. we recognize the architect, but also recognize turner construction. they are the federal contractor who have been on site since the beginning. thank you for all you have done. the two city employees who
served as project managers -- one i know is here, the current project manager, joe connors. thank you and john predecessor stole away from us, michael lane. thank you, michael, wherever you are. lastly, my personal reflection on this building. this building, to me, is truly a monument to the tremendous capacity of generosity in the heart of sentences go. the voters of san francisco in their great willingness to support this facility will always have this hospital as a sign of their willingness to help those most in need. these neighborhoods that surround this facility, i think, consider laguna honda at their private treasure. we really do look at this hospital as our own. we love this hospital.
we have great care and great love for the residents of this hospital. on behalf of the neighboring residents, to all of the current residents of the hospital, this is for you. we are thrilled we were able to do this for you. thank you, everyone. [applause] >> the work of the health department would never be possible without its commission. the commission is the governing body. you have been around to this project long enough to see some fantastic commissioners who have also gone on and are no longer sitting on the commission, but who we know are always there to help us. i would like to in knowledge the help with the prop 8 campaign. also, john sat on the commission.
once a commissioner, always a commissioner. we have long-term commissioners dr. david sanchez, dr is here. and now it is my great pleasure to introduce the president of our current commission, jim miller. >> what a great day for the public health of san francisco. first of all, i want to thank dr. hatz for all of his hard work to bring us to this day, and i want to acknowledge the current and former members of the commission who are here today. each of them has worked hard to champion this project. and we have forked together as a health commission to review and support each of the many steps it took to create the state of the art facility for the free list and most honorable of our citizens.
i want to recognize those who designed and built and managed this massive project and overcame the many challenges to bring it to completion. and i especially want to honor and think the staff -- honor and thank the staff of our public health department, who work every day to provide care and rehabilitation for these patients. now you, the staff of laguna honda, finally have a facility to match your exceptional devotion to these patients. you have all made san francisco proud. this new hospital embodies what the hall commission and all caregivers have always believed, that laguna honda is a key part of the san francisco community, reflecting its compassion, its diversity, and its commitment to the health of all of our citizens, but especially those without the
resources and support to recover from debilitating injuries. they are the reason we are here today, the people who called laguna honda their home. this new center of excellence in caregiving is dedicated to those residents, current and future, into a city that knows how to get the job done. thank you all for the labors to bring us to this day. [applause] >> i want to think on this pride weekend and assemblyman who is here who spent many years of visiting a friend of his who was a resident at laguna honda. before i bring up the next speaker, i will tell you this story are probably should not, but i am going to tell you anyway because it's so exemplifies the next speaker.
i am going to ask that you imagine the scene. it is 1998. i am in the office with mayor willie brown, who i still could not find enough mr. mayors to say his name. louise comes in to discuss the future of laguna honda hospital. she had just won this huge settlement with the tobacco company. she was the first of any local city attorney to join in that lawsuit. at the time, a lot of people were arguing tobacco companies would overwhelm us. there will be all of these freedom of information act. you should not do it. she stood bravely and did it. she said to the mayor, and i will never forget -- she said
"we have this opportunity. we can either use this money to rebuild laguna honda or we can pass it away -- piss it away." that was the exact quote. [applause] before i bring her up, i have to ask one more question. almost all of you are residents of the state of california. where is the tobacco money from the state of california? it was much larger amounts of money because it was a whole state. do any of you know? it is just part of the hole in the state's budget. it went into the general fund. what do we have because of luis? we have this beautiful building. [applause] >> unfortunately, those were my real words.
i will tell you the aftermath of that story. it is even worse with the state of california. they securitized their tobacco money. it is already pissed away. there you go. today is a great celebration not only for the entire laguna honda community but for the city of san francisco. i know that many of you know from its very beginning laguna honda and san francisco have been intertwined. back in the days of the gold rush, it was started as an alms house and evolved over the years to where we are today. today, we have a new chapter where a quality of care will be constantly given as it has always been given so well in the past, and where community will be even more deeply engaged. it has been said that nothing great is ever accomplished
unless you have passion, dedication, a vision, and teamwork. and as you tour the new laguna honda today you will see how all of those elements have come together, whether it is the individual residences that are now in neighborhoods which the residents have named, or the town hall corridor with its various amenities, including the aviary, the farm, and the gardens that have been -- have been enhanced by horticulture graduates from city college, and were neighborhood school children are going to come in and intermingle and interact with the residents. we have a green building. we have fantastic artwork, all put together with individuals who are too numerous to name today, but certainly if there is an honor roll it will include
not only those who are here today but jackie spier and our mayors, and some of those who cannot be here today. in the laguna honda corner of heaven i know that people like the volunteers, and the residents, are looking down and saying "hey guys you did it. and you did good." that is right. i think we did good. some of the individuals who deserve credit have already been mentioned, the deputies in the attorney's office, mayor willie brown, who encouraged how we were to use the dollars mr. parker and his team of the visionary architects, larry
funk who is sitting over there. he is a hero. [applause] larrym, from the beginning you had a dream of what the new laguna honda should look like, and you stuck with the passion and dedication to make that dream a reality. the city hall family, the laguna honda staff, the department of health, the commission, the department of public works, the art commission, john thomas from the department of public works. i could go on forever. but the individuals who all made this the possibility are on the laguna honda honor roll. but i truly believe that the greatest degree of thanks and go